Hi all, I'm not going to lie - the last few days have been a bit of a grind. I think it's known to most of our members (though not necessarily all) that FF is a site privately owned at a hosting cost of around £80 per month, and is administered and moderated on a purely voluntary basis. The last few days have seen what can only be described as contempt for the money, time and effort invested in the site by our team from a small but highly active cross-section of the membership. Trying to keep the site clean and peaceful has been nothing short of a thankless task, in and among us trying to maintain our day jobs and personal lives. Every decision we have taken has been questioned both publicly and privately and frankly, we're exhausted. So, I need to ask for your help. We want to keep FF going for you. We want FF to be a place where you can talk about football with fellow fans, have a bit of banter and even develop new friendships. We don't want a sterile and banter-free environment devoid of atmosphere, but we do want everyone to feel comfortable; young or old, long standing or new. We don't think we can do that if we continue to see episodes like we've had over the last few days. We have an acceptable use policy, and I encourage all of you to refamiliarise yourselves with it. It's not there to take the fun away, but it is there to make all of our lives easier and ensure that conversations are kept relevant, on topic and free from abuse and bullying. So to that point. The Cave in the Championship forum was put in place as a single exception to the off-topic threads rule, in order to tackle a particular issue we had at the time - a barrage of off-topic threads being posted on a daily basis cluttering the forum and clouding the on-topic content. I know it's a solution that some have issue with, and others have embraced. It's not perfect, but it is what it is. I ask that if you're not interested in the Cave, you leave it alone. Ignore it. Pretend it's not there - it doesn't have to bother you. I ask that if you're not a member of a spin-off WhatsApp group, you leave it alone. Ignore it. Pretend it's not there - it doesn't have to bother you. I ask that you remember there is a person behind every username. If you don't agree with what a user has said, you argue the point and don't attack the person. Banter vs Abuse and Bullying One of our biggest challenges is the moderation of banter. We encourage banter - this is football. What is sometimes difficult is identifying where a particular post is banter or genuinely abusive. So, I will remind you of the following: You have the option of reporting any post. In reality, very few users actually use the report function and instead expect the moderating team to find the offending post themselves. Simply put, we don't have the time to read every post. If you see a post you think breaches the AUP in any way, we need you to report it. If you are subjected to personal attacks or abuse - report it. Your reports are anonymous. If you do not report it, we may assume that you have accepted that post as harmless banter even if it is subsequently reported by somebody else. However, whilst we will accept banter, we will not tolerate the use of any language associated with homophobia, racism or the marginalisation of any group. So no, it's not okay to call your mate a poof even if it is intended as banter. If you see any such post we need you to report it. Without naming names, we've had a record number of requests to close accounts over the last few days because some members feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. The behaviour leading people to feel this way must stop. And Finally With anywhere between 1000 and 2000 posts a day, FF is not easy to moderate. If you think you can help, whether by making suggestions about the structure, rules, engagement etc or offering to moderate directly, please get in touch with a member of the admin team. I don't want this post to turn into a debate so I'll be closing it on posting. However, my inbox is always open if you want to talk to me directly. TLDR: FF is a hobby, and recently that hobby has been hard work. If we can't find a way to keep it on track as a fun, active and comfortable place for all members we'll probably have to call it a day. Thanks for reading.